Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shit happens

Yup, you heard me.  

Shit.   Happens.

Its the way of the world.  Happens to everyone.  Bad calls, bad bounces... even bad whistles with a minute to go as you're scoring the tying goal.  Shit happens.  It sucks.  It really sucks.  But it happens.  

But you know what shouldn't happen?  A parade of breakaways (Drew Miller had two in G2, Selanne actually scored on his in G3).  Odd man rushes.  Sloppy play.  Bad penalties.  Coming out flat for a series that I think will crown the Stanley Cup winner.  

Sure, getting shafted on a game-tying goal sucks.  But you know what?  It shouldn't have mattered anyways.  Refs out there do make mistakes.  It happens, and in this case, the ref did make a mistake, and it had a big outcome in the game.  But some of the idiots out there all worked out about some sort of screwjob on the level of Brett Hart at Survivor Series need to sit down and shut the hell up.  

I have always maintained, and will maintain until my death, that while a referee may make mistakes, the really good teams put themselves into positions where they don't allow the referee to change the game against them.  Especially in a 7 game series, this ought to be true.  Maybe you got screwed out of a game.  Hey, ok, there's 6 other games you can win.  

A really good team intentionally keeps their sticks down, skates hard, and does everything they can to avoid giving a referee and opportunity to call a penalty on them.

A really good team doesn't give up a breakaway, because they're responsible and smart about covering defensively when they turn the puck over.  

A really good team doesn't wait till the last minute to score a tying goal, giving the referee a chance to make a bad call.  They simply don't allow that lead to happen.

A really good team doesn't forget to show up for half a game.  

A really good team sees the mistakes they're making and problems they're having, and addresses and fixes those problems, whether that be through personnel changes (buh-bye, Cheli), or holding people accountable for their mistakes (like turnovers!).

A really good team doesn't bobble every single shot that comes up high into your glove or blocker and allow it to bounce wildly away, creating extra chances or more work for your defense.

A really good team doesn't allow themselves to go down in a series, because doing so allows any sort of mistakes (either by the team or the refs) to hurt you even worse.

The Red Wings should never have been in a position to allow that referee to make that call and lose that tying goal.  If they showed up for a whole 60 minutes, they probably wouldn't have been losing, and might've even had a lead.  If they didn't make stupid mistakes, like giving up that breakaway to Selanne (or a series of odd-man rushes afterwards), they would've been ok.  If they would fix their problems, like some of these stupid penalties, giveaways, or putting out defensemen who simply do not play smart, they probably would've been ok.  

Through three games so far, the Red Wings have proven themselves to be the better team...  when they're awake.  For several periods, the Wings have just completely carried the play.  In game 2, it was period 3 + the OT's.  In game 3, it was everything after the 2nd Anaheim goal.  When they're on, they are really, really good.  The problem is that they're not turning it on often enough, and I don't know that the problem there is necessarily even something the Ducks are actively doing to keep the Wings down, but that the Wings are allowing themselves to be kept down.  

Now the Wings are down 2-1 in the series.  That puts you into a vulnerable position, where your own mistakes or the mistakes of the referees can bury you.  If Detroit goes home down 3-1, this series is over, because Anaheim is too good to give up 3 straight without snagging one themselves.  If the Wings had won Game 3, and then lost Game 4 on some sort of bad call, bad mistake, whatever, it would've been ok.  It would've sucked, but it would've been ok.  But now that they've lost Game 3, if they lose Game 4, whether the circumstances be fishy or not, they're up Shit Creek, and they don't have a paddle.  

A really good team also overcomes adversity.  They overcome a series deficit.  They win the game, even if the ref makes bad calls, and then they win the next one.  They come out firing on all cylinders.  They overcome what limitations they have, and do what needs to be done.  They don't worry about what has happened, or cry about it, because its already happened and it can't be changed.  They know that the only way to fix it, to make things right, is to go out there and take control, to get in the driver' seat and take this series where they want it to go.  

Now its time to find out if these Red Wings are a great team, or just a good one.  I really hope its the first one, and not the second.


  1. ARTHUR:
    Good post, man. The Ducks have been quick-whistled out of a few goals this year. Sucks that the first time they call one in our favor, it has to be this big.

    But I couldn't feel sorry for the Wings after I spent five minutes of the 3rd biting my nails, worried to death that Detroit was going to cash-in on those back to back power plays. Chelios was trying to make up for giving up that goal by drawing TWO penalties in the 3rd. No conversion. It shouldn't have come down to an Empty Net scramble.

  2. I don't know how many posts I've written like this about the Ducks this season. It's all about a matter of making the good and the bad work in your favor because of what you're doing right. The refs miss so many things and get so many calls wrong. We can't expect them to be perfect, they're only human...

  3. The Red Wings barely faced any adversity at all in last year's playoffs. If nothing else, it's nice to see them sweat a little bit.

  4. Hey, you knock that off James.

    Not facing adversity and coasting to a Cup is just fine with me.

  5. They really might have more problems in this one series than they did all of the 2007-08 off-season. Keep in mind the person saying this is a Penguins fan.

  6. Er, "post-season." I need to go to sleep.